Conservation restriction protects 47 acres in Shelburne

Catherine “Kiki” Smith donated a conservation restriction to the Franklin Land Trust covering  47 acres of land on the east side of Reynolds and Patten roads in Shelburne.

Catherine “Kiki” Smith donated a conservation restriction to the Franklin Land Trust covering 47 acres of land on the east side of Reynolds and Patten roads in Shelburne. STAFF PHOTO/ BELLA LEVAVI

Catherine “Kiki” Smith has donated a conservation restriction to the Franklin Land Trust covering roughly 47 acres of land on the east side of Reynolds and Patten roads in Shelburne.

Catherine “Kiki” Smith has donated a conservation restriction to the Franklin Land Trust covering roughly 47 acres of land on the east side of Reynolds and Patten roads in Shelburne. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 03-17-2024 10:01 AM

SHELBURNE — Roughly 47 acres on the east side of Reynolds and Patten roads are being protected under a conservation restriction held by the Franklin Land Trust.

The land, formerly part of the “old Dean Farm” acquired by Catherine “Kiki” Smith and Charlie Cohn in 2016, features a well-maintained sugar bush, old pasture and wetlands edge habitat.

The late Cohn was once the Franklin Land Trust’s board president and treasurer, prompting Smith to initiate the gesture of donating the conservation restriction to honor her husband’s legacy.

The couple’s purchase of Dean Farm was driven by their desire to preserve the land for local families.

“It (the conservation restriction) stems from our love for the land,” said Smith, who now splits her time between Northampton and New York City. “It is breathtaking, and the resilience of the people who have lived here is remarkable. There’s no better way to give back to them.”

This donation marks the second phase of a two-part conservation project that commenced in 2018 when Franklin Land Trust secured a conservation restriction on the west side of the property.

This restriction safeguards prime and state-important farm soils and scenic views along Reynolds Road.

The conservation effort on the east side will protect a large sugar bush managed by maple syrup producer Norm Davenport and the edge of a valuable wetland area connected to Dragon Brook pond, home to endangered species listed by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.

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Conservation of the parcel will ensure the continued protection of wildlife habitat from fragmentation and degradation due to development.

“The land holds significant aesthetic value,” Smith added.

The newly conserved land is set to be sold to another family with multi-generational ties to the area. Presently, there is no dwelling on the property. The conservation restriction allows for the construction of one house.

“I’m certain that Charlie’s intention was to keep it within the community,” Smith reflected, “belonging to the community [that] he cherished and respected.”